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Trash-Collecting Device Breaks Apart In The Pacific Ocean

The plastic barrier with a tapered 3-meter-deep (10-foot-deep) screen is intended to act like a coastline

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Trash, Ocean
A ship tows The Ocean Cleanup's first buoyant trash-collecting device toward the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco en route to the Pacific Ocean, Sept. 8, 2018. VOA

A trash collection device deployed to corral plastic litter floating in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii has broken apart and will be hauled back to dry land for repairs.

Boyan Slat, who launched the Pacific Ocean cleanup project, told NBC News last week that the 600-meter (2,000-foot) long floating boom will be towed 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) to Hawaii.

If it can’t be repaired there, it will be loaded on a barge and returned to its home port of Alameda, California.

 

Ocean Pollution, trash
Artist Joel Deal Stockdill, lower right, works on a blue whale art piece made from discarded single-use plastic at Crissy Field in San Francisco. VOA

 

The boom broke apart under constant wind and waves in the Pacific.

Slat said he’s disappointed, but not discouraged and pledged that operations would resume as soon as possible.

“This is an entirely new category of machine that is out there in extremely challenging conditions,” the 24-year-old Dutch inventor said. “We always took into account that we might have to take it back and forth a few times. So it’s really not a significant departure from the original plan.”

Previously Slat said the boom was moving slower than the plastic, allowing the trash to float away.

Microplastics, plastic, trash
A volunteer shows plastics retrieved from the ocean, after a garbage collection, ahead of World Environment Day, on La Costilla Beach, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in Rota, Spain. VOA

A ship towed the U-shaped barrier in September from San Francisco to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an island of trash twice the size of Texas. It had been in place since the end of October.

Also Read: The Ocean And Its Climate Crisis

The plastic barrier with a tapered 3-meter-deep (10-foot-deep) screen is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in the patch while allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it.

Slat has said he hopes one day to deploy 60 of the devices to skim plastic debris off the surface of the ocean. (VOA)

Next Story

Nepalese Government Concludes its Clean-up Drive on the Mount Everest with 11 Tonnes of Trash

Each expedition team has to deposit $4,000, which are refunded if each climber returns with the 8 kg of waste

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Nepal
This photograph taken from a helicopter shows an aerial view of Mount Everest in Nepal's Solukhumbu district, some 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Kathmandu, on Nov. 22, 2018. VOA

The Nepalese government on Monday concluded its clean-up drive of the Mount Everest and said it had collected nearly 11 tonnes of trash that had piled up on the peak for decades.

The clean-up initiative, the first of its kind since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa conquered the summit 66 years ago, was launched in mid-April and involved an elite team of 12 high-altitude Sherpa climbers who spent over a month collecting the waste.

“Along with the rubbish, they also collected four dead bodies from the high camps of Mount Everest that were brought to Kathmandu last week,” Dandu Raj Ghimire, the Director-General of Nepal’s Tourism Department, told Efe news.

According to Ghimire, the clean-up campaign cost nearly 23 million rupees (some $207,000). He added that China had also launched a similar drive to clean the north side of the world’s highest mountain.

“There are big environmental concerns and criticism from the international community that Nepal has not shown seriousness to maintain the beauty of the iconic peak,” he added, while vowing that the government would continue to clear the human residues left on Mount Everest.

Ang Dorje Sherpa, the Chairman of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), said around seven tonnes of waste had been collected from the Everest Base Camp and the high camps.

The other four tonnes were removed from the villages of Lukla and Namche Bazar, both of which are considered the gateway to Everest.

Hundreds of foreign mountaineers spend thousands of dollars to conquer the peak every spring season, which normally begins in early April and lasts until May. As they go on the dangerous climb, they leave behind a trail of litter.

FILE – Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is seen in this aerial view March 25, 2008. VOA

Various stakeholders, including the Tourism Ministry, the Nepali Army, the Nepal Mountaineering Association, the Nepal Tourism Board, the Sagarmatha National Park, the SPCC and the local government have joined hands for this clean-up campaign.

In recent times, Everest has often earned the moniker of the world’s highest garbage dump.

Several tonnes of old equipment, oxygen cylinders, rubbish and human waste litter the famous mountain.

The government collects more than $3.55 million per year in revenue by issuing permits for climbers, but little had been spent so far to keep the ecosystem clean.

Also Read- Delhi High Court Agrees to Hear Plea Seeking to Increase Prescribed Length of Pregnancy

In 2014, the government introduced a rule forcing each member of an expedition to bring back at least 8 kg of collected garbage, in addition to the trash they generate themselves.

Each expedition team has to deposit $4,000, which are refunded if each climber returns with the 8 kg of waste.

The deposit is refunded only if the SPCC certifies that they have taken all their trash back down. But many commercial expeditions still end up leaving trash scattered among the gelid snow. (IANS)